The game guru

Ric­cardo Momesso is one of the premier game chefs in Aus­tralia, driven by his love of hunt­ing and his south­ern Ital­ian roots.

Field and Game - - BUSH TO BANQUET -

Ric­cardo is busy with a new busi­ness, Fer­rovia Deli & Fine Foods in Rail­way Pa­rade, Pas­coe Vale (across the road from Pas­coe Vale rail­way sta­tion).

The café is cur­rently open for break­fast and morn­ings but owner Danny Leone has plans to ex­tend into the build­ing next door and open for lunch and din­ner later this year. “Danny is a good friend of mine and he asked me to come and join him; it is go­ing from strength to strength,” “With the res­tau­rant we are go­ing back to our roots. Danny is from Si­cily and I’m from Cal­abria, they are very sim­i­lar cook­ing styles and his­tor­i­cally, they be­long in Pas­coe Vale,” Ric­cardo said.

Ric­cardo is busy and the kitchen is hot as he com­pletes two duck dishes for ser­vice.

He’d love to be out in a field some­where en­joy­ing his love of quail hunt­ing but it is bone dry and on this mid-april day he woke to 27 de­grees and a dust storm sweep­ing across Mel­bourne. “Hope­fully in com­ing weeks I can have a walk and a bit of a look for some quail, but it is dry, there’s been no rain and the ground is as hard as a rock,” he said.

“I can at least get the ex­er­cise. The quail are al­ways out there some­where but I sus­pect there’s not many in Vic­to­ria at the mo­ment, they are like ducks and fol­low the rains and the wa­ter.”

Ric­cardo likes to cook all sorts of game and while his duck legs with home­made gnoc­chi ap­pears com­pli­cated and a long labour of love, he reck­ons it is sim­ple enough for most hun­ters to try.

You com­pile the dish in parts over a few days but most of that is the 48 hours the duck legs sit in the mari­nade while you do other things like hunt­ing and the mash for the gnoc­chi is made the day be­fore you in­tend to eat. “The tra­di­tion­ally made gnoc­chi is made with pota­toes, they come from the ground and are earthy; duck and potato with a rich tomato sauce is a mar­riage made in heaven,” Ric­cardo said. “This recipe isn’t break­ing any new bound­aries. It takes time to ac­com­plish but it is re­ally sim­ple, the way my Ital­ian fam­ily has cooked for cen­turies. You could also use pasta, like a heavy pap­pardelle, but I like the gnoc­chi be­cause of the way it em­braces the sauce and takes on the flavour.”

When the res­tau­rant opens later this year Ric­cardo will base some dishes on game, a re­flec­tion of his love for it and the fol­low­ing he has amongst hunter­gath­er­ers.

For mag­a­zine Ric­cardo pro­duced mul­ti­ple dishes, two of which are fea­tured in this edi­tion. “Af­ter the events of last year we need to show how ver­sa­tile duck is and that there is no need to waste it, no game should be wasted,” he said. “My motto is to al­ways leave a few eggs in the bas­ket, we need to hunt sus­tain­ably and with re­spect for game and that fol­lows through into the kitchen. You go out ex­plor­ing and hunt­ing for game and you should do the same in the kitchen, ex­plor­ing new ways to use your game, and ex­per­i­ment­ing, which is equally en­joy­able.”

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